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Psophodidae – Whipbirds and Wedgebills

Chirruping Wedgebill in Australia: Photo by David Ongley

Psophodidae consists of five species of whipbirds and wedgebills found in Australia and New Guinea.

Overview of Psophodidae

The sound of a cracking whip emanating from an Australian garden shrub marks many observers’ first encounter with birds in this family. Despite their name, some whipbirds don’t make this vocalization, and those that do have much more diverse vocal repertoires than is initially apparent. All are mid-sized, rather heavy-bodied songbirds with long tails and earth-toned plumage, most sporting a crest. Unlike many birds in the region that breed cooperatively, psophodids are socially monogamous with simple biparental care. Primarily insectivores, the best-known species occasionally eat fruit, leaning back on their tail and belly to transfer the fruit from bill to foot.